South Korean President Park Geun-hye has warned that another nuclear test by North Korea would have a huge impact on the regional security landscape as it could force other nearby nations to develop their own nuclear arsenal.
"It would be difficult for us to prevent a nuclear domino from occurring in this area," Park said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that was conducted Wednesday and published Friday.
Park also said the North "would effectively be crossing the Rubicon if they were to conduct another nuclear test," suggesting that stalled negotiations over Pyongyang's nuclear program involving the U.S. and regional powers would end for good, according to the paper.
In recent months, North Korea had shown signs of preparing to conduct what would be its fourth nuclear test after the communist nation threatened in March to conduct a "new form of nuclear test" in anger over a U.N. rebuke of a series of missile firings.
The North previously conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013.
Park said during the interview that China's role is critical in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. She also said the South will continue to seek to build trust with the North under her trademark "Korean Peninsula trust process" policy.
But she said she doesn't have "any illusions that this will be an easy process."
Park said Japan is an important partner, but the neighboring nation must resolve long-running grievances over atrocities committed during its 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea, including the sexual enslavement of Korean women for its troops.
"Japan would be very well-advised to proceed in a manner that doesn't further deepen the concerns of its neighbors, and it would be very helpful if the U.S. also counsels the Japanese to that effect," Park said, according to the paper. (Yonhap)